Facebook thinks it should be in charge of drafting data protection policies

Protocol, 7/15/2020: Facebook's plan for privacy laws? 'Co-creating' them with Congress

Now, the social networking giant has a modest proposal for lawmakers drafting privacy rules around the world: Let us help you write them.

In a new white paper published Wednesday, Facebook pushes for a light-touch approach to privacy regulation that involves maximum input from and flexibility for businesses. These, of course, are already the sorts of policies most tech giants are lobbying for behind closed doors. But the paper pushes for this collaboration to happen out in the open.

It argues, for instance, that the best way to design privacy regulations is through “policy co-creation,” in which governments and companies work together to prototype policies and test their viability before they're implemented. It makes a case for regulations that “avoid or remove strict, one-size-fits-all design requirements,” opting instead for laws that “regulate the process for making privacy design decisions, not the outcome of those processes.”

Who defines “viability?” It's possible (indeed, probable) that the right privacy and data protection policies would be extremely damaging to the business model of Facebook and other data exploiters. If we internalize the needs of Facebook and its ilk into our conception of what is “viable,” then we'll end up with the wrong policies.